Spring Arts Preview 2013: Editor's Picks

Arts editor Brangien Davis found two themes connecting the best shows to see in Seattle this spring.
Brangien Davis  |   March 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Grey Gardens ACT theater seattle
Esteemed local actresses Patti Cohenour (left) and Suzy Hunt have crazy fun as Little Edie and Big Edie in Grey Gardens at ACT Theatre

Risky Business
This season is packed with strong leading women who take big chances. See for yourself, and decide if you’d rather follow their lead or learn from their mistakes.

Get Naked
Untitled Feminist Show
Pullman-raised Young Jean Lee has made a name for herself the world over by creating edgy and innovative performance art. Proven adept at tackling race and class issues, Lee brings gender roles to the fore in this new show, with a cast of women who wordlessly, acerbically (and sometimes nakedly) explore what it means to be female. 4/4–4/7. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St.; 206.217.9888; ontheboards.org

Ask for Help
Good People
The financially struggling mother of a disabled daughter risks everything on a wealthy old flame in this funny yet troubling Tony-nominated play, which asks whether the American Dream is most readily achieved through struggle, circumstances or skill. 3/8–3/31. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org

Stay Connected
Voix Humaine
Only one person appears on stage in Francis Poulenc’s 1959 opera, but the woman’s desperate intensity is as mesmerizing as a cast of hundreds. Jilted by phone, she attempts to keep her lover on the line as long as possible, despite countless interruptions. Also on this Seattle Opera double bill is suor Angelica, Giacomo Puccini’s 1918 opera about a pious woman who chooses death over rejection by her noble family. 5/4–5/18. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St.; 206.389.7676; seattleopera.org

Audition Your Heart Out for a Panel of Stuffy Judges
Flashdance: The Musical
The guilty (seriously, extremely guilty) pleasure of the season, this water-splashing, maniacal-dancing, sexy-welding Broadway show revives the tale of a passionate dancer whose greatest dream is…conforming to the rigid confines of a ballet conservatory. Nothing in this story makes sense, but if you love ’80s hits and soft-core exotic dance numbers, well, what a feeling. 4/16–4/21. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414; stgpresents.org

Flaunt Fashion
Grey Gardens

Mother and daughter Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, the East Hampton society ladies (Jackie O’s aunt and cousin) turned reclusive raccoon cohabitants, were perfectly captured in the Maysles brothers’ 1975 documentary. Now an acclaimed musical, Grey Gardens still teaches us a lot about human nature, relationships and self-perception—but does so via compelling songs and a stellar local cast. 3/16–6/2. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676; acttheatre.org


Rebirth + Reboot
The arts scene is taking a cue from Hollywood this season, putting new spins on old material. But while we’re currently reserving judgment about upcoming movie remakes (The Great Gatsby, Carrie, RoboCop), we’re genuinely excited about this local array of artful updates

Money: Rebooted by various visual artists
Currency becomes more current in Love Me Tender, the new group show at Bellevue Arts Museum in which artists—including graffiti god Banksy—use ordinary money (U.S. and more colorful cash) as their medium. 2/22–5/26. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE; 425.519.0770; bellevuearts.org

Donald Byrd: Rebooted by Donald Byrd
To celebrate 10 years as artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater, the esteemed local choreographer is restaging the first work he created for the company. A Cruel New World/the new normal was originally a meditation on post-9/11 America—how does the landscape look a decade later? 4/11–4/13. Venue TBD; 206.216.0833; spectrumdance.org

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Rebooted by Book-It Repertory Theatre
Book burners, beware: Book-It is using Mark Twain’s original, uncensored text to bring this iconic story of race and the Mississippi River the stage. 4/16–5/12. The Center Theatre at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.; 206.216.0833; book-it.org

The Taming of the Shrew: rebooted by Seattle Shakespeare Company
(Extra points for being a reboot of a reboot.) Seattle Shakes earned huge acclaim when, during the 2009 summer outdoor theater series, it staged the Bard’s classic comedy in a trashy trailer park. This time, the rubes run at each other indoors, brandishing their beer cozies in a cozier space. 4/25–5/12. Playhouse at Seattle Center (formerly Intiman Theatre), 201 Mercer St.; 206.733.8222; seattleshakespeare.org

The Beatles: rebooted by Seattle Rock Orchestra
The city’s best beloved band geeks take on The Fab Four, performing symphonic versions of the albums Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour, augmented with vocal cameos by local singing stars. The only question we have is how they’ll implant the backward messages. 5/11–5/12. The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave.; 206.682.1414; stgpresents.org

Swan Lake: rebooted by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
New York’s famed all-male drag ballet troupe flocks to Seattle, bringing with it insane dance talent and gallons of makeup. Skilled at executing both slapstick and pirouettes en pointe, these guys skewer ballet tropes while simultaneously proving their devotion to the art. 5/16–5/18. Meany Hall, UW campus, near the intersection of 15th Avenue NE and NE 41st Street; 206.685.2742; meany.org. Bonus: You can compare and contrast this with the more traditional version when Pacific Northwest Ballet dons the Swan (4/12–4/21; pnb.org).

Additional photo credits: (Trockaderos) Sascha Vuughn

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